May is National Stroke Awareness Month, a time to educate people about the risks, the warning signs, and how to act fast if stroke occurs. It’s also a time to learn about the risk factors. There are some risk factors you can’t do much about – age, sex, family history – but there are many stroke risk factors that you can work on to lower your risk. Your workplace wellness program will have the tools and resources to help you minimize these controllable risks.
A dangerous myth about stroke
Many people associate stroke occurrence with age – but in reality, any one of any age can suffer a stroke. In fact, in recent years, stroke in young adults is increasing at an alarming rate – something we discussed in our prior post Strokes are a growing risk for younger people.
This short video offers a good overview.
Someone dies from stroke every four minutes, yet when stroke occurs, many people – particularly young people – are unfamiliar with the warning signs. Knowing the warning signs and taking fast action can save a life. In addition to the above video, Stroke.org has great information and resources to learn more.
Taking steps to lower your stroke risk factors
While there are some risk factors that you can’t control – age, sex, race, or family history – there are many stroke risk factors that are within your control. The American Stroke Association offers more information about stroke risk factors, including changes you can make and factors you can control to lower your stroke risk.
- Don’t smoke.
- Increase exercise and physical activity.
- Eat a health diet.
- Take steps to reduce obesity.
- Know your blood pressure numbers and work to keep them low.
- If you have diabetes, keep blood sugar controlled.
- If you have high cholesterol, get it under control.
- If you have atrial fibrillation, heart or artery disease, get and follow treatment.
Harvard Health offers 7 things you can do to help prevent a stroke, along with suggested steps to achieve those goals.
A good workplace wellness program will offer the tools, resources and programs to help you to lower you risk of stroke and other chronic life-limiting health conditions by helping you control risk factors. At ESI EAP, we offer wellness coaching in nutrition, fitness, and tobacco cessationto help members create custom plans to achieve health and wellness goals.